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Researchers look to greener, cheaper refrigeration for businesses

Researchers at the University of Sunderland are hoping everyone from small businesses to multi-national companies will give a warm welcome to their latest scheme to make refrigeration techniques cheaper and greener.

The research, sponsored by DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), aims to identify and develop more energy efficient refrigeration technologies and business practices for use throughout the food chain while not compromising food safety and quality.

Dr David Baglee, who is leading the research team, says: “Sunderland's role will be to concentrate on research into business practices and how the application of these would improve energy efficiency.

“Initially we are looking at small to medium-sized local businesses, such as abattoirs and butchers, to see how we can make refrigeration much greener and much cheaper.

“Problems can be anything from poor maintenance practices, to something as simple as employees forgetting to close the freezer door! But inefficient refrigeration can be a massive cost, both in terms of your business and, of course, the impact it has on the environment.”

Sunderland is working with Bristol, Brunel and London South Bank universities on the project over the next two years. The team will investigate improved maintenance techniques, new refrigeration technologies, and techniques such as value stream mapping to save money, time and energy.

The team hopes that the final findings of the research will be used from everyone from your local butcher, to Tesco and Sainsburys to save money, cut down on environmental impact and ensure maximum levels of food safety.

Tony Kerr | alfa
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